Codeine Withdrawal Symptoms

Written by Chloe Nicosia

Codeine withdrawal symptoms are plenty and brutal

Codeine is an opiate that is used to treat moderate pain. It is also used in cough medicine and medications applied to the treatment of serious cases of diarrhea. People who are prescribed codeine in any form need to be made aware of the potential for addiction. While codeine pills on their own are categorized Schedule II for high risk of dependence, the drug isn’t restricted in this way when it is offered as cough syrup. ┬áIt is then prescribed without much thought. Many people who begin to use codeine end up physically or psychologically dependent. You’ll know that you’ve developed a dependency by looking for painful codeine withdrawal symptoms.

Why do codeine withdrawal symptoms arise?

The brain functions through a delicate balance of chemicals that different parts use to signal and communicate. One of the effects of codeine on the brain is to mimic neuro-transmitters and their effect on a specific part of the brain called the learning and reward center. When stimulated by excessive quantities codeine, this brain region produces feelings of pleasure. Over extended periods of use, it also initiates the creation of deep, emotional attachment to the substance.

When you take codeine for a long time and then attempt to stop, you may experience cravings. Felt as the deep yearning for the drug, they come from the emotional attachment created. The presence of such attachment indicates codeine addiction.

A brain that is repeatedly exposed to chemical disruption by codeine attempts to protect itself. The brain does this by raising its level of tolerance. When users perceive poor levels of response, however, they will usually raise the dose that they take. When dosage is raised to high levels, the brain, unable to cope, will usually simply allow the disruption to occur — the brain simply adjusts to the chemical imbalance. The brain is said to be physically dependent then.

Addiction may include both physical and psychological dependence.

Once physical dependence begins, ending drug can produce harmful physical effects. Stopping can drastically change the brain’s chemical balance. The brain usually moves in to regain control, but its frantic efforts tend to cause further disruption. Such chemical disruption causes some very painful symptoms.

What do codeine withdrawal symptoms look like?

Codeine doesn’t last long in the body. For this reason, when use ends, the disruption caused by the fall in levels of codeine in the brain typically begin within hours. The effects start out as restlessness, a runny nose, watering eyes, nausea and a loss of appetite. Over the following day, codeine withdrawal symptoms seen can include aches and pains, mood swings and insomnia. Cravings can turn up, as well.

While long-term users of codeine will usually experience these withdrawal symptoms in very intense form, these effects are not life-threatening ones. Nevertheless, most people who attempt to withdraw from codeine on their own do not succeed. The reason is simple — addiction doesn’t come about from a lack of willpower. Addiction comes from physical changes to the brain. The brain learns a deep emotional connection to codeine. It cannot be willed away. Rehab is essential.

Finding rehab through Better Addiction Care

Successfully quitting codeine requires that you attack the problem on multiple fronts — through addiction treatment, psychiatric treatment and psychological treatment. Only a rehab is able to offer every type of treatment needed in one program.

Better Addiction Care is a provider of accessible reading material about addiction to patients. The Better Addiction Care website also offers a highly detailed searchable database of addiction care centers across the country. Searching through the website for information on codeine addiction and the specific treatments available at various rehabs can be a good way to educate yourself on the treatment process, and to choose the right rehab.

Searching for quality rehab care can be complex. Rehabs tend to offer a varying mix of expertise, credentials and treatment options. A conveniently and accessibly presented array of information can make choosing efficient and effective.